Picture this: you’re heading off on a road trip to exciting – but unfamiliar – territory. Do you just set off on the open road and hope you eventually somehow reach your destination?
While some adventurers might take this approach, most people start out a journey with a roadmap, complete with landmarks that help them identify they’re on the right track, whether it be roadside attractions or cities that are along the way from Point A to Point B.
The same principle applies in life – and especially in sales, where success is determined by our ability to bring together skills, business processes, resources, and natural talents in order to help customers and contacts buy into our vision of value within whatever product or service we’re selling.
Here are some benchmarking landmarks to include on your roadmap to the destination of success:
- The essentials – Your trip won’t go too far if you don’t include some gas stations and pit stops along the path, right? Similarly, it’s critical to focus on the essentials from the get-go. These would include any metrics and benchmarks that are reasonable to expect when looking at one’s skills and effectiveness. While the specifics will vary by industry and objective, they generally will include a strategy for growth, basic sales processes and systems, personal competencies, management practices, and skills development.
- Goals and objectives – If you think you’re driving to California and your passenger thinks you’re off to Calgary, there’s a problem. Sharing common goals and objectives helps everyone involved understand how to get to your overarching organizational vision. These goals and objectives should be specific and measurable, with intermediary expectations set along the way (i.e. quarterly performance goals of a certain dollar amount or number of sales conversions that will show progress toward the annual goal).
- Values and principles – What’s the purpose behind your journey? Undertaking a long trip to see a close friend or ailing relative will drive you with more meaning than traveling for an obligatory appointment. Likewise, these values and principles breathe life and heart into your sales journey. How do the two differ? Values are broad fundamental beliefs– things like acting with integrity, exceeding expectations, or serving the community. Principles are more a part of the everyday tactical business execution, like nurturing client relationships, knowing the competition, or proactively managing risks and promoting awards.
- Reward systems – Remember asking “are we there yet?!” on childhood road trips? The promise of a cookie or some other tangible reward at the next gas station can work wonders for encouraging patient behavior for a child. The same idea applies to adults in a sales environment. Acknowledgement for reaching a certain goal, exceeding performance expectations, or winning a competition gives team members an added boost that helps them drive on in their sales efforts. The best rewards are those that are outlined in advance, giving all team members something to work toward, and align closely with your overall business strategy.
Happy travels along your sales journey!